Fructose Malabsorption



What is fructose malabsorption?

Fructose malabsorption may be caused by deficient fructose carriers in the small intestine's enterocytes. This results in an increased concentration of fructose in the entire small intestine. Fructose is a sugar that is found in many foods, usually fruits, honey, processed foods and foods with high fructose corn syrup and even some vegetables. Fructose is also found in table sugar, comprising 50% of it, with the other component being glucose.

Some people cannot completely absorb fructose in their small intestine. The excess, undigested fructose attracts water, often leading to diarrhea. Additionally, the undigested fructose is then carried to the large intestine or colon, where normal bacteria rapidly break it down. The breakdown of fructose in the large intestine causes bloating, gas, and other symptoms.

What are the symptoms of fructose malabsorption:

Patients suffering from fructose malabsorption experience a variety of symptoms, including:

• Diarrhea

• Abdominal cramps

• Bloating

• Gas

• Nausea, and sometimes, vomiting

What is a hydrogen and methane breath test for fructose malabsorption?

A hydrogen and methane breath test is a reliable, non-invasive test for fructose malabsorption. Following a 12-hour fast and 12-hour dietary prep, the fructose malabsorption breath test measures the breakdown of a specific amount of fructose over the course of time by capturing breath samples at regular 40 minute intervals. In a person with fructose malabsorption, the fructose will not be completely absorbed in the small intestine, so it will reach the colon, where bacteria will break it down to hydrogen or methane that will be absorbed into the blood and will reach the lungs. Larger than normal amounts of exhaled hydrogen or methane measured during a breath test indicate that you aren't fully digesting and absorbing fructose and may suffer from fructose malabsorption. Our fructose malabsorption hydrogen and methane breath test can be administered in-office or in the comfort of the patient’s own home.